I’m pleased to introduce my first guest, singer/songwriter Greg Trafidlo. Greg hails from Virginia, which makes the fact that I met him at a Chicago-land dog park pretty amazing. We chatted as our dogs played, and soon realized were both songwriters. We kept in touch and subsequently did some co-writing, which resulted in “Carved in Stone” (see My Musical Side.)
Greg has a long list of performance and publishing credits. His song “Crossing Over Into the Valley,” co-written with Barbara Martin, was recently recorded by Charlie Sizemore for his Heartache Looking for a Home CD. He frequently backs up folksinger Tom Paxton, and has been a fixture at The Swannanoa Gathering for many years.
Greg is particularly skilled in the arena of humorous lyrics. When he emailed me his parody of the children’s book GOODNIGHT MOON, by Margaret Wise Brown, I knew I had to post it here. He kindly allowed me to parley it into an interview. Enjoy…
by Greg Trafidlo
(With Apologies to Margaret Wise Brown, Author of GOODNIGHT MOON)
In the practice room
There is a microphone
And a red guitar
That I play in bars
Books about my music heroes
A computer full of ones and zeros
Reject-letters, paper reams
Legal pads and broken dreams
Next-door neighbors yelling, “Hush!”
(They don’t like my music much)
Goodnight Fender Telecaster
And amp so loud it cracks the plaster
Chords augmented and diminished
Verses that I never…… finished
Goodnight lyrics, goodnight chair
Good night tunes lost in the air
Goodnight posters on the wall
Pleasant dreams, goodnight to all
We’ll meet again at day break when,
With luck, the muse returns again
CAK: Welcome, Greg. Your parody is brilliant--how did it come about?
The director of the Roanoke Regional Writer’s Conference—which is held at Hollins University—sent out a call for entries for parodies of GOODNIGHT MOON, by Margaret Wise Brown. She graduated from Hollins in ’32, and they were having a year-long celebration of her work.
CAK: So…did you win?!
Being selected to present it was really the award. There were some good ones! These were all pro writers—mostly novelists and short story writers from the Roanoke Regional Writer’s Conference. They want me to teach a songwriting class at the conference at Hollins in January. I guess that’s really my prize.
CAK: I love your attitude. Do you have any advice for writers in general…particularly those of us who are seeking publication?
All the good things that have happened in my career have occurred because I’ve tried to put myself “out there.” Meaning, going to Nashville and other music cities; performing; entering contests (I won the USA Songwriting Competition in the Novelty category.) And, I’ve performed with some of the biggest names in the business just because the timing was right—including Tom Paxton, Janis Ian, and Peter Yarrow.
You can either sit at home and hope for a career, or you can put yourself in a place where good things can happen. Find out what you’re best at. I’ve been very fortunate—by doing these things, I find out where I fit in the food chain. Most of the radio airplay I get are for my funny songs. That’s what gets me heard. And I love writing that kind of material. When I was asked to contribute to the GOODNIGHT MOON parody contest, it was the kind of challenge that I love to have.
CAK: Great advice. I’m inspired by your perseverance and positive outlook. What’s up next?
I have some gigs with Tom Paxton coming up; and I’m contemplating my next project…possibly a compilation of my funny stuff. On a side note, our co-write “Carved in Stone” will be performed on Memorial Day at The Vietnam Wall Memorial (in DC) by my friend and co-writer, Barbara Martin.
CAK: That’s wonderful news, on all accounts. Thank you, Greg, and best wishes in your writing/songwriting efforts.
SPECIAL GIVEAWAY: Greg’s latest CD, “Carved in Song,” will be given to a random commenter. The contest will be open until Sunday, April 29, and the lucky winner will be announced in my next blog post. (I’m biased, of course, but trust me when I say it’s a fine CD!)